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How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?

Methadone is a medication used to help treat chronic pain as well as to help individuals coming off drugs such as heroin. In some cases, it can become addictive, but when used correctly it can reduce the chance of death from overdosing on heroin.

Methadone stays in your system for quite a while, which can create a risk for addiction if you take more than you’re supposed to.

What is Methadone and What is it Used For?

Methadone is a schedule II-controlled long-acting full opioid antagonist medication that’s been approved by the FDA, or the Food and Drug Administration. Methadone is used in more than one way. Generally, it is used to help wean individuals off drugs by blocking the effects of opioids. Methadone is also used to treat painful withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

Doctors also prescribe methadone for chronic pain, usually because it is cheaper and simpler to access. Prescribing methadone to individuals with chronic pain is not always the best idea because this can create a rise in addiction to methadone by people who haven’t used opioids before.

Why Do People Abuse Methadone?

Many times, individuals who are taking methadone are trying to recover from addiction and may not be in the best head space for getting sober. They may become addictive to the drowsiness effects or want to take more to achieve a rush or high. It is hard to get a rush from methadone because it is designed to block the euphoric effects of drugs like heroin.

It is also possible that individuals abuse methadone because they are trying to manage their severe chronic pain and methadone is an easier more accessible way to do so than other opiates.

What Problems Can Come from Methadone Abuse?

Drugs like methadone can make you feel more drowsy than normal and sometimes this can be a reason for addiction. There are a lot of problems that can occur when abusing methadone. First off, taking to much of this drug can lead to severe confusion and coordination loss which can put you at risk for falls or other injuries.

Second, if you are pregnant or nursing and taking methadone it can be passed on to your baby or child and the withdrawal symptoms can arise in your baby which can be very dangerous. Its also possible that after taking this medication your mood swings may still occur and you may still get cravings for it, increasing your chance of addiction.

Common Side Effects of Methadone

Side effects of methadone can range from mild to severe, depending on how often you are using the medication or if you are using it correctly or not. You may not always feel the side effects of methadone but its important to know when taking methadone.

Mild Side Effects

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Constipation
  • Sleepiness/ drowsiness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Forgetfulness
  • Impaired coordination
  • Urinary retention

Severe Side Effects

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Tremors
  • Depressed respiratory function
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Death from overdose

There are also psychological symptoms to be aware of when taking methadone such as insomnia, hallucinations, depression, anxiety, paranoia, delusions, suicidal ideations, and impaired concentration.

How Long Does It Stay in Your Body?

You may be wondering how long does methadone stay in your system? Do I need to be tested for methadone? Methadone can be tested in a variety of ways to determine how long it stays in your body. If you take a blood test to determine in there’s methadone in your system, it can detect the methadone for up to 24 hours after you last used it.

How long does liquid methadone stay in your urine? And how long would crystal methadone stay in the urine? When tested, crystal or liquid methadone can be detected for 6 or sometimes even 12 days.

Sometimes a hair follicle test is also used to determine methadone in the body, and it can detect this medication up to 90 days after the last use.

How and Why Do People Test for Methadone?

Due to methadone addiction not being super common, it is not commonly tested at the workplace. Generally, when it is tested it is to see the level of a person’s addiction. Methadone is not tested on a five-panel drug test, but you can test for methadone on a 10-panel drug test or higher.

How long does methadone stay in your urine for a drug test? Usually between 6 and 12 days after you last used methadone.

Addiction to Methadone

Addiction to methadone is not always common but can occur especially when trying to manage chronic pain. It’s never a good idea to abuse methadone because it is not a drug meant for getting high, it is meant to be used to help individuals get off addictions from drugs like heroin.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a methadone addiction, seek help immediately and know the signs and symptoms of abuse. Methadone overdose is possible and if you notice someone acting delusional or confused help them get medical attention as soon as possible.

Common Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

Methadone withdrawal can occur days after taking the drug. Withdrawal is also possible even when taking only a low dose, and sometimes its not an easy thing to go through. Take your methadone as required and talk to your medical provider about withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Methadone:

  • Cravings to use that don’t go away
  • Goosebumps
  • Muscle aches
  • Bone pain or joint pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Heavily sweating
  • Dehydration
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability 

The most concerning symptom of methadone overdose is dehydration. It is advisable to get immediate help if you have been vomiting or having diarrhea for more than a day because this can lead to severe dehydration and possible death.

Symptoms of Overdose of Methadone

It is very possible to overdose on methadone because of how long methadone stays in your system. Risk of overdose is much higher when taking too much of the drug or mixing it with other medications. You should avoid overdose at all costs and only take methadone as prescribed.

Overdose Symptoms:

  • Respiratory Depression (slow, shallowed breathing)
  • Clammy or blueish skin
  • Blue lips or fingertips
  • No ability to stay awake
  • Stupor
  • Convulsions
  • Vomiting
  • Coma

Death is always possible when overdosing on methadone. Seek help immediately if you think you or someone you know is abusing methadone.

What are the Best Practices for Methadone Use?

There are a few ways to avoid abusing methadone and usually this means being monitored while taking the medication. This is called methadone maintenance and it is a safer alternative to taking the drug on your own because this can put you at risk for addiction.

Methadone maintenance comes with many benefits especially for individuals who are coming off of heroin abuse. Methadone maintenance:

  • Helps to reduce death rate
  • Helps to reduce drug injection
  • Reduces criminal activity

Always talk to your medical provider about your dosage and how you can have someone help monitor your usage.

What Sort of Treatment is Available for Methadone Abuse?

Treatment for methadone abuse is not available at every single rehab or detox center, you must seek out special detox centers who specialize in methadone abuse. Valley Detox is a great choice when looking for methadone detox treatment.

Valley Detox is located in sunny Los Angeles, California and specializes in detox for opioids, alcohol, opiates, street drugs, benzodiazepines, and club drugs. They create customized detox plans per individual as a way to make sure they tend to your needs. When looking for a detox center for methadone addiction, consider Valley Detox and give them a call today at (844) 402-3505.